2022: Six Months & Counting

01 Jul,2022



By Shailesh Kapoor


Shailesh KapoorJust like that, we are already into the second half of 2022. It’s been a somewhat unusual year for the Indian entertainment business. The last two years have been heavily impacted by the pandemic, but 2022 has had a more ‘normal’ feel to it, and that itself has been refreshing.


The maximum action was seen on the theatrical front, with a slew of new releases seeing audiences go back to the theatres in big numbers across India. K.G.F: Chapter 2 and RRR have been huge success stories, with the latter finding enhanced fan following in the US after its Netflix release in May. The Hindi theatrical market, which has struggled for two years now, saw sporadic success beyond the dubbed versions of the two blockbusters mentioned above. The Kashmir Files, Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 and Gangubai Kathiawadi got the audience, while several other films, including big-ticket Akshay Kumar starrers Bachchhan Pandey and Samrat Prithviraj, struggled at the box office.


In the first six months of the year, Hindi language’s share of the domestic gross box office stands at about 35%, down from 44% in the pre-pandemic year (2019), but up from 27% in the two pandemic years put together (2020-21). The twist in the tale is that a staggering 43% of Hindi box office in Jan-Jun 2022 has come from Hindi dubbed version of South Indian films.


While theatrical films grabbed the headlines, this half-year period has been somewhat muted for the streaming category. There has been a spate of new launches across platforms, but very few have achieved unqualified success. Rudra (Disney+ Hotstar), Panchayat S2 (Prime Video) and Aashram S3 (MX Player) crossed an estimated viewership of 25 Million audience in India, while Rocket Boys and the recently-launched Suzhal: The Vortex have received widespread critical acclaim.


News of Netflix struggling to grow its subscriber base, worldwide and in India, continued to surface every few weeks in this half year. Big brands can sometimes feel the burden of giant expectations they set for themselves, and Netflix currently faces this challenge on the global front.


As usual, there wasn’t much in the television content space to write home about. A deftly-executed season of Shark Tank India was noticed and appreciated, but its success was largely streaming-centric, as the show failed to find a sizeable audience on linear television.


While there was little action on the content side, the TV industry was not short of action on the industry side, with the return of the news ratings, and the subsequent mad rush we witnessed, in which almost every news channel staked a claim at the no. 1 position. February was the elections month that saw five states, including Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, go to the polls. News channels had enough on their plate to keep themselves busy, including controversies around several prominent anchors.


But the big media story of the first half of 2022 is the astronomical price for which the IPL broadcast rights were sold. The auctions place IPL unquestionably at the top position on the list of the most powerful media brand in India, in a year that also saw two new teams make their IPL debut, one of which went on to win it.


If the first half of the year is any indication, we can expect that the second half of 2022 will not be short of fireworks.


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